The Los Angeles Dodgers’ hitters like to drag things out. According to Fangraphs, they lead the league in the average time between pitches at 24.1 seconds. The Toronto Blue Jays, by comparison, like to get right down to business at a league-low 21.8 seconds.
Baltimore’s J.J. Hardy is the only hitter who qualifies for the batting title and takes less than 20 seconds (19.3), while Colorado shortstop Troy Tulowitzki takes the longest (27.6 seconds). But right behind him is the Nationals’ Danny Espinosa (27.5).
Espinosa is interesting because he is taking more than four seconds longer to set up between pitches than last season (23.2 seconds).
The Nats’ infielder took less time in March and April (27.1 seconds) than in May (28 seconds), which corresponds with a dramatic downturn in production.
I wouldn’t chalk it all up to taking more time to get set in the batter’s box: His batting average on balls in play was a gaudy 0.345 in March/April and dropped to 0.194 in May. But perhaps that extra time is being used to remind himself not to swing at pitches outside the zone, which has decreased from 42.7 percent in 2013 to to 39.2 percent this season.
Either way, next time you hear someone complaining the game is too long at Nats Park, remind them they have Espinosa to thank.